Today’s first was a delight for me. I returned to the Springfield Botanical Gardens to stroll through parts of the garden that I had not seen yet. I visited the Gardens in early spring, for the first time. Most of the plants were just beginning to push up through the earth. I enjoyed the trails and sitting near the lake, but knew I’d return at some point to see the gardens in full bloom.
In late spring I visited the Japanese Garden that is part of the Botanical Gardens, but I did not visit the rest of the gardens, saving that for a future visit. I realized today that if I didn’t get back to the Botanical Gardens soon, I’d miss them entirely if I wanted to see the matured plants. Today, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather to make a spontaneous trip to Springfield. Also, for my first today, I am going to show what I saw as I meandered through the beautiful gardens, rather than tell about my adventure. This is my first pictorial blog post!
Today’s first was a “seize the day” type opportunity. It was the only day I had available this week to visit the Japanese Garden in Springfield, MO. With the promise ahead of a beautiful, sunny, breezy day, I did indeed seize the chance. So did Greg, who traveled to Springfield with me.
Last week, the gates were closed and locked, preventing entry into the garden. Today, the gates stood open, inviting visitors to enter and stroll. Well, enter and stroll after paying $3.00 for admission. The leisurely walk through that enchanted place was well worth the nominal fee.
The 7.5 acre Mizumoto Japanese Strolling Garden is the oldest attraction at the Springfield Botanical Gardens, opening in 1985. Enclosed by a fence, the garden offers serenity and beauty and an opportunity to disconnect from busyness. We didn’t get far down the path before we stopped in appreciation to snap pictures. The white and pink Dogwood trees near the front gate were in gorgeous full bloom. We followed the path and explored the meditation garden, which in a few weeks will be hidden behind a curtain of bamboo, and stopped to sit for a while on a stone bench near the first large koi pond.
A pair of Canadian Geese immediately approached, their two fuzzy goslings gliding along between them. They came right to the edge of the pond, near our feet, looking at us expectantly. When we failed to produce any food for them, they put on a little show for us any way. We laughed at the antics of the goslings. They would dive beneath the water’s surface, disappearing completely, and then pop up in an unexpected place, shake the water out of their downy feathers and then dive again. I’ve never been so close to baby geese before! After entertaining us for several minutes, they glided away.
The path wound through the traditional Japanese landscaping. I was there to enjoy the beauty of the gardens and there to gather ideas for my own garden, which will feature a small Japanese meditation area. And I found so much to inspire me! We explored bridges and islands, seating areas with stone or wooden benches, bamboo screens and fences and a traditional Japanese tea house. A waterfall sent water cascading into a pond in front of the tea house, which in turn flowed beneath the Moon Bridge and pooled into another body of water before culminating in the pond where the goslings played. Water is an important feature of a Japanese garden, as are stones, trees, and wooden bridges and structures. There were at least a dozen stone Japanese garden lanterns scattered throughout the grounds as well, varying in size from small to very large.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Japanese garden today. I left feeling refreshed and full of peace and joy. I also gathered many great ideas for transforming my own little corner into a space of similar beauty and tranquility. I won’t have the playful goslings or the geese gliding by on still water. But I also won’t have to watch where I step as I roam about my garden with bare feet!
Greg took this pic, accidently switching to black & white mode. I like it though!
Today was a gorgeous spring day. After sales meeting this morning, and taking care of a contract, it felt like the perfect day to be outdoors. I had heard there was a Redbud Tree Garden and a Japanese Garden in Springfield, MO. For my first today, Greg and I drove to that nearby city to check out the gardens. It was only after I was underway that I remembered today was Earth Day! What an ideal way to appreciate the beauty of my world.
The botanical gardens were easy to find. I appreciated that Greg googled the location before we left Joplin. My first surprise was how large and varied the gardens are! There are 114 acres of gardens and grounds that include the Botanical Center, a Butterfly House, a Farmstead, a small lake surrounded by a walking trail, and many different types of gardens to stroll through. We started in the Center to pick up a map and info about the grounds and then headed to the Japanese Garden. As my backyard is being transformed, I want a meditation garden in one corner, with strong Japanese influences. I was excited to see this garden so I could get ideas. Sadly, that was my next surprise…the Japanese Gardens are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! We peeked over the fence. It looks like a lovely, serene place to stroll and reflect. I will definitely go back to check out this space.
There were so many other gardens to explore that I was not disappointed about the locked gate at the entrance to the Japanese Garden. We strolled instead through the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden. This space includes a perennial border, themed herb beds, and a kitchen garden. The winding pathways made of mulch inspired me to create similar paths in my own garden.
Next we walked along a trail that meandered past the Redbud Garden, which was established in 2011, and the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House. The Butterfly House opens in May. I have always wanted to go into such a place! I will be visiting this enclosed structure, where a variety of native butterflies move through their life cycles before being released in September. The path then wound through individual gardens housing lilies, irises, roses, peonies, and wildflowers. The plants are just pushing up through the ground. It will be interesting to return several times this year to see how the gardens change with the seasons. I am especially intrigued by the ornamental grasses garden, as I want to include a variety of grasses in my backyard sanctuary.
The path joined the walking trail that surrounds the lake. We found a bench near the water to rest on and watched the Canadian Geese float by. The water was like glass, disturbed only by the passing geese. It was such a peaceful and beautiful spot to be still in and enjoy nature. There are many other gardens to explore that we saved for another visit. I want to check out the White Garden, the Hosta Garden and the English and Summer Gardens. A new sensory garden is being developed that sounds promising as well, and of course, I can’t wait to stroll through the Japanese Garden which covers 7.5 acres.
This was a delightful first and gave me wonderful ideas for smaller scale projects for my own garden. As we were leaving, we met Frank, a volunteer at the Center, who chatted with us and shared his amazing gardening website. Meeting and connecting with new people has been an unexpected and wonderful perk that has accompanied many of my firsts. I assured Frank, and promised myself, that I would return soon. And I will!